December 5th, 2010

annoyed kitty

Copyright Law and Art

I really need the advice and expertise from you all in this community.
I am a moderator on a forum which has an art community. There has been a recent trend of buying and selling (and reselling) characters plus related artwork, and there have been some arguments as to who has what rights in these sort of sales. We've had some members bring up the First Sale Doctrine as a defense against some of the artists' wishes for the art not to be resold. Now, as I understand it, First Sale Doctrine only applies to tangible goods, while most of the art in question is digital.
We have in the past stayed out of private sales, but it's getting too widespread for us to ignore any longer and we need to keep the peace on our forum. What are the specific laws which govern the sale (and resale) of digital art? I'll need references to actual law and hopefully some plain English explanations for our members, since their ages range quite a bit. We're hoping to iron out guidelines and rules for them to follow.

Thank you in advance for any advice given.